Boy, there is so much going on. Not only on the news, in social media but also within our own Christian faith. There are prophets, seers and mystics. Different religions. People in-the-in-know. How in heck does anyone know what to believe or what to do?
I once heard a Father William homily that stuck. If the devil went around with red pointy ears and a pitchfork, we would recognize him right off. But unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. He’s a little craftier and more disguised than that.
So that led to this blog. To affirm and reaffirm the importance of being able to discern for ourselves what’s from God and what’s not, what course of action to take or not. Why we need to take the care of our soul seriously.
I was once on Mexico trip and went into Mérdia for five days. It was late day on a tropical postcard afternoon. I was hanging out in the zócalo when I met a very handsome Mexican who flattered me about my white skin. He invited me out and I welcomed the local company.
At first he walked me back to my hotel so I could shower and clean up for our date. He wanted to wait in my room but I insisted he stay in the lobby. First red flag. But boy was he good looking!
When I returned refreshed ready for our outing I thought he was gone. But out he pops from a cubby away from the front desk. I thought it odd and second red flag went up.
We went for a lovely swanky dinner followed by the local theater. I was tickled with his fluent Spanish, hearing about his customs and not having to worry about the language or getting lost. He did all the navigating with gentleman grace. When we went for his car at the end of the evening, lo! it was locked in the underground. Drats! How stupid of me, he said. But his panic didn’t ring true.
I recognized it in a moment regardless of his drop-dead-gorgeous looks. He walked me home and we kissed good night and that was the end of him.
Had I not been spiritually fit, I so easily could have been taken in by the romantic ambiance, believed his lies and the night could have ended with dire consequences. But I had the eyes to see and was able to distinguish true from false. In hindsight, he was probably a gigolo that had been watching me in the town square for two days before he hit on me, as I saw him in the square later.
So how to we fortify ourselves against things like that? How do we get the eyes to see so as to not fall in the trap of believing lies and building our lives around them?
Well, we don’t actually, God does. We just keep our TV set on his channel. If we’ve spent time nurturing our relationship with him, learning his ways, we will recognize him. ‘My sheep will know my voice. I will lead them.’ Then he can inspire us, move us, care for us. But if we’re so plugged up with to-do lists that our feet don’t hit the ground, or so entrenched in our patterned thought life, he can’t get a word in edgewise. We can’t possibly hear him, let alone follow his directives that are often so contrary to the worlds understanding.
God wants to guide and protect us. He wants to helps us to distinguish truth from error so we make good decisions. But we have to ask. Then make room for him.
So how does all this translate to these Covid days? When we keep our inner life clear and strong, we are better-inspired and guided on what to do and what not to do. What to take in and what to let go. On a daily basis. We can remain steadfast in him. Even among all the evidence that points in the other direction. And I emphasize, on a daily basis. We were instructed to live in this day only, so our job is to do just that, and be our best selves at it. Or in Bonnie Henry’s words, ‘Be calm. Be kind. Be safe.’
I spend my days with people who lift me up, who I lift up, who inspire me, who I inspire. We talk about current affairs, yes, but we also talk about our new hobbies and acquired interests - ways we recognize God in them. We get plenty of exercise and rest, sometimes even go on a picnic.
And together we watch the light dispel the darkness.
God didn’t give us crystal balls for a reason. Covid can easily disguise itself as Chicken Little crying ‘The sky is falling’ where all you want to do is give up. Is it true or not? I don’t know.
But what I do know he brought us safely this far and will take us the rest of the way, on to victory.